Trick-or-treating is fun for the whole family, and children often anticipate the evening of fun the entire year! Halloween is coming up and we want you and your children to enjoy the festivities….without damaging your teeth! Here is a list of some of the most harmful treats for your teeth and how you can better protect them this October 31st.(more…)
Your Guide to Halloween Candy: What to Avoid and How to Take Care of Your Teeth
October 21, 2021
Questions You’ve Been Wanting to Ask Your Dentist
September 20, 2021
Do you ever feel like you have a million questions to ask of your dentist but can’t think of them on the spot? This post is for you! We get these questions frequently here at Southlake Family Dentistry and want our patients to have the answers. So, here are the top questions you’ve probably been wanting to ask your dentist.(more…)
How Your Diet Impacts Your Dental Health
August 16, 2021
Your diet plays a huge role in your overall health, specifically your organ functions and weight stabilization. But did you know what you eat heavily affects your dental health too? Foods that are good for, say, your digestion system, aren’t always good for your teeth. Let’s dive into all of the hard facts surrounding your diet and your dental health.(more…)
5 Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
July 19, 2021
Have you ever experienced tooth sensitivity? It’s that painful sensation that some of us feel after biting into a popsicle or taking a big sip of hot coffee. If you feel pain after eating/drinking hot and cold foods, you likely have tooth sensitivity. You might be wondering where it comes from and why it only happens to some of us. There are several reasons, but let’s go over the 5 most common culprits.(more…)
Root Canals 101
June 21, 2021
You’ve probably heard about root canals before, even if you’ve never had one. And more often than not, there’s a negative connotation that goes along with the procedure. Root canals were historically a painful treatment, but the procedure is not as rough as it once was with the recent advancement in technology. And did you know that according to The American Association of Endodontists, more than 15 million root canals are performed per year? You’re not alone!
What is a root canal?
Root canal procedures are done to treat a severely cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or issues from a previous filling. A root canal is needed when the pulp or the center of your tooth becomes inflamed from infection or damage.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
You might be a perfect candidate for a root canal procedure if you have frequent toothaches, sensitivity, discoloration, swelling, or a recurring pimple on the gums. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist today so we can determine the right treatment to eliminate your painful symptoms.
What happens during the procedure?
The first step in performing a root canal is to create an “access hole” into the affected tooth to remove the pulp, any bacteria, and decayed nerve tissue. Thanks to modern medicine, we use local anesthesia to numb the tooth so you shouldn’t feel any pain, similar to a filling. Once the bacteria and pulp have been removed, a series of files are carefully placed into the hole and used to clean the sides of the root canals.
Once the access hole has been cleaned, and all the decayed tissue has been removed, it’s time to seal the tooth. Your dentist may fit this all into one appointment, or you might have a second appointment to finish it up. If you are going to have a subsequent appointment, your dentist will place a temporary filling in your tooth until you see us next.
Lastly, we always consider restoration. Sometimes, this includes placing a crown on the tooth for protection, preventing it from breaking, and giving the tooth full function. However, you should speak to your dentist about restoration options.
Don’t let the past of root canals frighten you! Suspect you might be due for one? Contact the Southlake team to schedule an appointment today.
5 Signs You Need a New Toothbrush
May 17, 2021
Your dentist has been telling you that brushing your teeth twice a day is important for your oral health. But if your toothbrush isn’t in good shape, your healthy brushing habits might not be benefiting you as much as you think. Your dentist likely gives you a new toothbrush every time you visit the office (which should be twice a year). But you actually need to replace your toothbrush more often than that. Here are some signs that it might be time to throw out your toothbrush and replace it with a new one.
1. The bristles are worn down, broken, or falling out.
Frayed or bent bristles aren’t doing a good job of cleaning your teeth. If you notice the bristles of your toothbrush are declining, or they’re just in bad shape, it’s time for a new toothbrush.
2. Your toothbrush bristles touched someone else’s or fell on the floor.
This one is self-explanatory. The germs that your toothbrush could pick up from the floor or another person’s toothbrush could make you sick. It’s best to replace it if it’s been contaminated by other germs.
3. You stored your toothbrush in a container.
The air-tight toothbrush containers that many people use for traveling are the perfect place for bacteria to breed. If you’ve been storing your toothbrush in a container for a prolonged period of time, throw it out.
4. You’ve been sick.
Being sick is no fun, and using the same toothbrush after being ill will not help the cause. If you’ve had a virus such as the flu or a cold recently, replace your germy toothbrush with a new one.
5. You’re halfway to your next cleaning.
If none of the above things occur before three months have passed, then it’s time! We recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months to get the full effects of brushing. If you use an electric toothbrush be sure you are replacing the toothbrush head on the same schedule.
Keeping your teeth clean and healthy starts with proper brushing. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with an ADA-approved toothpaste. Also, be mindful of the places your toothbrush has been and what it has touched. Contact our office to make an appointment for your next cleaning.
5 Tips for Teaching Kids Good Dental Habits
April 19, 2021
Is getting your child to brush their teeth a daily chore? Teaching them good dental habits early isn’t always easy, but it’s an important lesson that will impact their health for the rest of their life. You might have a hard time getting your child(ren) to brush and floss every day, and that’s normal! Encourage proper techniques and habits, leading by example. There are, however, some techniques you can pick up to try and make it more fun.
We recommend you start taking your child to the dentist by the time they turn one – or six months after their first tooth comes in. As soon as your child’s first tooth sprouts, it is accessible to plaque, which can lead to cavities and other dental complications. Ask your dentist about the proper steps for caring for your baby’s first teeth.
This is also a good time to get advice on your child’s incorrect oral habits such as thumb/finger sucking and pacifier use. Follow up with your dentist as often as every six months. They will be able to assist you in making an oral care schedule for your child.
Get Them Involved
Letting children make their own choices about their toothbrushes and toothpaste will help spark their interest in dental care so it will seem like more of a fun activity than a chore. If a princess toothbrush makes taking care of their teeth more fun, go for it! Just make sure whatever they choose is approved by the FDA and ADA.
Let’s face it, as parents, a little bribe here and there will work. Start small – offer extra playtime or a treat over the weekend. We don’t recommend big rewards every day because this can lead to unmet expectations and ruin your progress. Small rewards over a longer period of time will allow for “weaning” off this technique, at the same time encouraging good oral care.
Teach your children all about dental care and the consequences of not following proper cleaning techniques. Be sure that they understand why we take care of our teeth and how they help us every day. And make sure older siblings are on board too!
Make it a routine
Children respond well to patterns and routines. Be sure to incorporate good dental care into their morning, afternoon, and evening routine. Keep an eye on them during these times to ensure they are using proper techniques and ask your dentist if you have any questions about how to improve their daily routines.
If you have any additional questions about your children’s oral health, contact us!
Bad Breath: What Causes it and How Can I Fix It?
March 19, 2021
If you have ever worried about having bad breath, this post is for you. Also known as halitosis, bad breath is extremely common in adults – in fact, 1 in 4 adults experience it. Before you start to worry, halitosis is a little more chronic than just morning breath. The real concern is if your halitosis is chronic and doesn’t resolve after brushing, flossing, and using a mouth rinse.
What Causes Bad Breath?
The number one culprit is the bacteria that live in our mouths. Tiny microbes feed on food particles and dead cells. The unpleasant odor comes from the sulfur compounds that are left behind by the microbes. This probably isn’t something you want to think about, but it is important to know what’s causing bad breath in order to deal with it.
How to Check if You Have Bad Breath
You can always ask a trusted friend or family member, but that might not be the route that you’re comfortable taking. If you’d prefer to perform this task solo, keep reading.
The oldest trick in the book: hover your hand over your mouth and exhale. Quickly smell the lingering odor in your hand and you be the judge of how it smells. You can also smell your floss after its use, or use a cotton swab to dab at your tongue. There are plenty of simple methods that can work here!
Preventing Bad Breath
Proper Oral Health. Of course, our number one tip is preventive care – brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Make sure to keep your tongue clean as well. You can do this by using a tongue scraper or if you don’t have one, use a toothbrush or a spoon.
Don’t Rely on Mouthwash. Mouthwash only masks bad breath for the short term, and can actually make halitosis worse in the long run. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol. When used, the alcohol will dry out your mouth tissue, causing less saliva production, in turn making your halitosis worse.
Proper Diet. Even when following proper dental hygiene habits, you may still experience bad breath. The culprit here is likely your diet. Here are some foods to stay away from and others that actually help to prevent halitosis from occurring:
For fresher breath, try incorporating foods like:
- Sugarless gum
- Herbs and spices (including parsley, cloves, anise, and fennel seeds)
If you’re still struggling with chronic halitosis after trying these methods, contact the Southlake Family Dentistry team. We are here to help with all of your oral health needs!
From Start to Finish: Your Regular Dental Cleaning
February 15, 2021
We’ve all had a dental cleaning done before (and if not, you’re way overdue to see a dentist) but do you really know what they’re doing while you’re in that chair? There are several components and steps that go into a dental cleaning, and we’re breaking down the entire process from start to finish.
Before we dive in, it’s important to be aware that it is totally normal if your dentist probably doesn’t actually perform your dental cleaning. This is where our amazing dental hygienists shine! Our hygienists are trained specifically to perform cleanings and are great at what they do.
1. Dental Exam
Your dental cleaning will begin with an exam of your entire mouth and all of your teeth. This is the part when your dental hygienist uses a tiny mirror to examine your teeth and gums. What he or she is really doing is looking for signs of gingivitis. If your teeth and gums look healthy, your hygienist will proceed to the next step. If your gums are inflamed or swollen, they may call in your dentist for a second look.
2. Plaque and Tartar Removal
Next, comes the removal of plaque and tartar. This is an essential step of a dental cleaning and leaves your teeth feeling squeaky clean. Again, your hygienist will use the same mirror and a scalar to rid the gum line of plaque and tartar. The scalar makes a scraping sound as it is used to scrape away all the bad stuff and can cause a bit of soreness if you have a lot of plaque and tartar on your teeth. However, this step should be a breeze if you brush and floss twice daily!
3. Clean and Polish
During this step your hygienist uses a gritty toothpaste, sometimes mint or bubble gum flavored, and a special electric toothbrush to polish the surfaces of your teeth. But don’t let the sound of the brush frighten you, this part is painless ( it might even tickle a little). Keep in mind that this kind of cleaning is safe to do once or twice a year but is too harsh to be done more often than that and should only be done by professionals in a dental office.
The fourth step to a thorough dental cleaning is flossing. Dental hygienists are expert flossers and will be sure to remove anything that might have been missed during the plaque and tartar removal step. If you notice that your gums bleed during this step, it’s likely a sign that you should start flossing more often at home.
This is the final step of your cleaning. Your hygienist will give your mouth a thorough rinse to rid of any toothpaste or debris leaving your mouth feeling extra clean and fresh.
Now that you know the steps of a dental cleaning, we hope you feel prepared for your next visit. Missed your last cleaning? You can easily set up an appointment on our website.
5 Habits that Hurt Your Teeth
January 19, 2021
Here at Southlake Family Dentistry, we want all of our patients to have the healthiest and strongest teeth possible. However, there are several bad habits we often see that can hurt your teeth. Many of these habits can lead to tooth damage, cavities, and staining. While we’ve seen a multitude of practices that harm your teeth, here are the top five.
Smoking is terrible for almost every function of your body, including your teeth and mouth. Not only does tobacco stain the teeth, causing yellowing, but several health risks have to do with your mouth. For starters, smoking can lead to severe gum disease, bad breath, increased loss of bone in the jaw, and an increased risk of oral cancer. If you haven’t quit smoking, we highly suggest quitting to reduce your risk of developing any of these dreadful conditions.
- Drinking Coffee
Drinking coffee seems like a necessity to some, especially to our working individuals. But you might not be aware that it isn’t good for your teeth. The most obvious reason is that it causes staining. The drink is dark in color, and if you drink coffee every day, your teeth are probably a bit more stained than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee also sticks to your tongue, causing bad breath or halitosis. But don’t worry, there are alternatives! Try drinking green tea or eating a large and nutritious breakfast instead. And if you must have coffee, just brush your teeth afterward.
- Eating Chewy or Hard Candy
Most foods with high sugar content are not going to be good for your teeth. But if you’re going to stay away from one thing, it should be chewy or hard candies. Harmful bacterias feed off of the sugars and turn into an acid, which erodes your teeth. This process eventually leads to cavities, which can be annoying and painful. You can avoid this by staying away from hard or chewy candy, and if you decide to eat some, brush and floss right after.
Almost every person has bitten their nails at some point in their lives. But nail-biting is a more problematic habit to break for some. The routine can wear at the enamel of your teeth, eventually leading to cracking, chipping, and weakness. If you or your child struggles with nail-biting, The American Academy of Dermatology Association provides a list of ways to break the habit. Save your teeth and break the habit as soon as possible!
- Eating Ice
This last bad habit isn’t too obvious but can still cause damage. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but that does not mean it’s invincible. Chewing ice can damage your enamel, even causing cracks or chips in your teeth. Avoid this risk and just wait for the ice to melt.
Don’t let your teeth suffer damage from any of these bad habits. Contact Southlake Family Dentistry for any questions regarding your teeth, or visit our website to schedule an appointment.